This is the fourth of several posts written by students at the North Carolina School of Science and Math as part of an elective about science communication with Dean Amy Sheck.
Dr. Giny Fouda’s research focuses on infant immune responses to infection and vaccination.
Her curiosity about immunology arose during her fourth year of medical school in Cameroon, when she randomly picked up a book on cancer immunotherapy and was captivated. Until then, she conducted research on malaria and connected it to her interest in pediatrics by studying the effects of the parasitic disease on the placentas of mothers.
As a postdoctoral fellow at Duke, she then linked pediatrics and immunology to begin examining mother to child transmission of disease and immunity.
Today she is an M.D. and a Ph.D. and a member of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute. She’s an assistant professor in pediatrics and an assistant research professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Duke University School of Medicine.
Based on the recent finding that children of HIV-positive mothers are more susceptible to inheriting the disease, Fouda believes that it is important to understand how to intervene in passive immunity transmissions in order to limit them. Children and adults recover from diseases differently and uncovering these differences is important for vaccine development.
This area of research is personally important to her, because she learned from her service in health campaigns in Central Africa that it is much easier to prevent disease than to treat.
However, she believes that it is important to recognize that research is a collaborative experience with a team of scientists. Each discovery is not that of an individual, but can be accredited to everyone’s contribution, especially those whose roles may seem small but are vital to the everyday operations of the lab.
At the Duke Human Vaccine Institute, Fouda enjoys collaborating as a team and contributing her time as a mentor and trainer of young scientists in the next generation.
Outside of the lab, Fouda likes to spend time reading books with her daughter, traveling, decorating and gardening. If there was one factor that improve how science in immunology is conducted, she would stress that preventing disease is significantly cheaper than treating those that become infected by it.
Dr. Fouda has made some remarkable progress in the field of disease treatment with her hard working and optimistic personality, and I know that she will continue to excel in her objectives for years to come.
Post by Vandanaa Jayaprakash NCSSM 2020